Wednesday, November 26, 2014


In Dr. Herman's Classroom

Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873), The Caxtons: A Family Picture, Part II, Chapter I:
He was extremely indignant that little boys should be brought up to confound Zeus with Jupiter, Ares with Mars, Artemis with Diana—the Greek deities with the Roman; and so rigidly did he inculcate the doctrine that these two sets of personages were to be kept constantly contradistinguished from each other, that his cross-examinations kept us in eternal confusion.

"Vat," he would exclaim, to some new boy fresh from some grammar-school on the Etonian system—"Vat do you mean by dranslating Zeus Jupiter? Is dat amatory, irascible, cloud-compelling god of Olympus, vid his eagle and his aegis, in the smallest degree resembling de grave, formal, moral Jupiter Optimus Maximus of the Roman Capitol?—a god, Master Simpkins, who would have been perfectly shocked at the idea of running after innocent Fräulein dressed up as a swan or a bull! I put dat question to you vonce for all, Master Simpkins." Master Simpkins took care to agree with the Doctor. "And how could you," resumed Dr. Herman majestically, turning to some other criminal alumnus—"how could you presume to dranslate de Ares of Homer, sir, by the audacious vulgarism Mars? Ares, Master Jones, who roared as loud as ten thousand men when he was hurt; or as you vill roar if I catch you calling him Mars again! Ares, who covered seven plectra of ground; confound Ares, the manslayer, with the Mars or Mavors whom de Romans stole from de Sabines! Mars, de solemn and calm protector of Rome! Master Jones, Master Jones, you ought to be ashamed of yourself!" And then waxing enthusiastic, and warming more and more into German gutturals and pronunciation, the good Doctor would lift up his hands, with two great rings on his thumbs, and exclaim,—"Und Du! and dou, Aphrodite; dou, whose bert de seasons velcomed! dou, who didst put Atonis into a coffer, and den tid durn him into an anemone; dou to be called Venus by dat snivel-nosed little Master Budderfield! Venus, who presided over Baumgartens and funerals, and nasty tinking sewers! Venus Cloacina—O mein Gott! Come here, Master Budderfield; I must flog you for dat; I must indeed, liddle boy!"

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?